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Dumplings are one of the main signature dishes of Chinese cuisine. Dumplings are also known as Shui Jiao (水餃), Jiaozi(餃子) in Chinese. In many Chinese and Taiwanese homes, we will sit together, make a hundred or even more dumplings together, drink tea, watch the TV and just make it really social. When we teach our children to make food this is one of the very first things we teach them and I have actually had my four year daughter help me put them together in the past.
The dumplings I have made for this recipe focus on the Shui Jiao (水餃) type of boiling, which is a boiled dumpling that Chinese and Taiwanese people eat during their Chinese New Year eve dinner.
There is a story about Shui Jiao, which is related to Chinese New Year’s origin. In the legend there was a scary man eating monster called “Nian”(年獸) that ate people from the villages. After a while, people found out Nian was afraid of the noise of chopping meat and vegetables which you have to do to make dumplings. So every year Chinese followed this tradition and made dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year. Also because dumplings look like a Chinese ingot (元寶) people like to eat dumplings for their lucky meaning.
Of course apart from Chinese New Year you can make and eat this delicious dish any time you want but I think it’s always interesting to learn the origin of a dish. As mentioned when I lived at home in Taiwan we literally used to make hundreds of dumplings, eat many on the day we made them then the rest we used to freeze. I make a lot less living in the UK but I still make a few hundred every year.
The most popular flavours for dumplings are pork and chive, pork and cabbage, pork with chive and scrambled eggs and finally pork and prawn with vegetable. There are dozens if not hundreds of other dumpling recipes around but these are the most popular by far and for this recipe I’m going to introduce the pork with chive and scrambled eggs recipe.
The mince that we use for the filling must contain at least 30% fat. We use fatty mince because it makes the texture softer after the dumplings have cooked and the fat also improves the taste. You will find your dumplings or Chinese meatballs are very tough once cooked if you use lean mince hence using the fatty meat. In the UK not many supermarkets tend to stock fatty mince so I either go to a butcher or more commonly go to a Chinese supermarket where I can buy the rest of the ingredients at the same time.
If you have allergies to either eggs or dried shrimps you can take these out of the recipe but these two ingredients do enhance the flavour of these dumplings. They do make a taste difference but they’re not essential enough if they are going to harm you.
1.5 kg pork mince, 30% fat minimum
320g spring onions, chopped finely
10g ginger chopped finely
8 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, half a teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon of sugar. You can use either demerara sugar or caster sugar
120 sheets of dumplings pastries (available in Chinese supermarkets)
20g dried shrimps (蝦米), softened in warm water around 15-20 minutes and chop finely (these are available in most Chinese supermarkets)
Some plain flour to spread on the plate to stop the dumplings sticking to the plate
150ml light soy sauce
1 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar (You can use demerara sugar or caster sugar)
1 tablespoon of blended sesame oil. Don’t use toasted sesame oil as the flavour is too strong.
The ingredients below will make approximately 120 dumplings.
Methods for filling mixture:
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- Fry the eggs as thin as a crepe and chop finely when it has cooled down.
- Mix all the ingredients and seasonings evenly and leave it for 30 minutes.
02 of 08
How to fold a dumpling-step 1
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- Take a small bowl and put some cold water in. Water can help the edge of the dumpling pastries to stick together.
- Take a sheet of dumpling pastry and put a teaspoon amount of filling on the middle.
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How to fold a dumpling- step 2
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- Use your fingertip to dip some water and wet the two ends. Use your fingers to press them together as shown in the procedure photo.
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How to fold a dumpling-step 3
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- Use your finger to make a small fold and press down.
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How to fold a dumpling-step 4
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- Use a bit of water to help it stick together.
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How to fold a dumpling- step 5
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- Repeat the step 3 again.
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How to fold a dumpling- step 6
Repeat the step 3-5 on the other side of the dumpling.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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How to fold a dumpling- step 7
- Take a plate and spread some plain flour on it. Place your dumplings on the plate and keep making the dumplings until you use all the fillings or you run out of dumpling skins.
- Boil a big pot of water and cook dumplings in the boiling water.
- When the dumplings have risen and are floating on top of the water. They are cooked (Please note this applies to fresh dumplings only. If they are frozen you will need to wait for the water to boil then add more water. Wait to boil again, repeat twice then they are cooked)
- Serve with some dumpling sauce. Ready to serve